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Topic: Opening an Art/Craft Supply Store? (survey, of sorts)  (Read 439 times)
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dax.crochet
« on: April 05, 2014 04:10:32 PM »

Hello! Opening an art and craft supply store is something that's been on my mind for quiet awhile. The closest Michaels/Joannes/etc is about 20 minutes so I think it would be a good idea to open up one in town with the basics and some more unique stuff (ex. Michaels never has safety eyes for amigurumi dolls when I go, so I would stock those).

I was hesitant at first but I think the distance thing is going to be a big factor and will help me get business. It will also have a huge community feel and I'll offer classes (everything from little kids coming to paint freely, learning how to crochet, how to make jewelery, etc). I want it to be really involved, unlike the one yarn shop near by (only yarn and a SMALL variety of hooks- not much of a competitor), they seem very selective, the kind of shop you go into and instantly feel that "I don't belong here" feeling.

I was just wondering what everyone's favorite brand of yarn is (high end and low), types of hooks, beads, paint, pens/pencils for drawing, anything you can think of. If you could walk into a craft store and they had absolutely everything you needed, what would it have?

Also, what would your perfect local craft store be like? (i.e. comfy couches, classes, rewards card)

Thank you so much for any input  Smiley
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Chris in VT
« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2014 04:57:20 AM »

If you could walk into a craft store and they had absolutely everything you needed, what would it have?

As a crafter and knowing crafters here's what you would need to carry:
Florals and floral supplies
Art supplies like canvas, paint, brushes, etc
Wood and woodworker items like blanks, etc
Yarn and corresponding items
Jewelry findings as well as the necessary beads, etc
Adhesives
Scrapbooking supplies
Kid's crafts

The list goes on.

You're not into 90% of what I listed. That's why Michaels, and AC's are in business. But according to the Wall Street Journal, AC's is going to close some stores. They're doing it for the same reason Staples is going to close 225 stores. Online competition. Staples is going to concentrate more on that area.

From your post I gather you are into crocheting. Then open a specialty shop instead. But before you do anything, takes some Small Business Administration courses.

Opening a business in today's economy is extremely risky! There's an old adage in real estate. "When everybody sells, you buy, and when everybody buys, you sell." That does not go for businesses however. When others are closing, you do not open. But if you have enough interest in your town to open a specialty shop with items and prices your customers can support, you may just succeed.
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There's NOTHING at a craft show, or on Etsy, anybody NEEDS. NOTHING.
www.shadypinestudios.com
dax.crochet
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2014 08:27:23 AM »

Thank you for your input!

I actually do know quite a bit about scrap booking, jewelry making, painting, and various other crafts. The only reason I asked so much about yarn is because, while crochet is one of my favorite crafts, I only ever use cheap acrylics that Michaels offers and have no experience with using the more expensive stuff  Tongue

I'm aware of the risk of opening a business, and I've already signed up for some business classes. Thankfully I also know the right people and someone in town who has never had a business fail has agreed to sit down with me and help me out, give advice, etc.

I'd obviously put a lot of planning into this and not rush it. I want to make sure I do everything right.  Smiley
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Chris in VT
« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2014 03:31:53 AM »

I wish you the best and hope you're successful.
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There's NOTHING at a craft show, or on Etsy, anybody NEEDS. NOTHING.
www.shadypinestudios.com
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« Reply #4 on: April 13, 2014 01:30:16 PM »

Well, it's not so much what we want as what your local market wants. That's where you're going to get your answers if you're going to cater to locals. Maybe there isn't much of a market there for pricey, artisan yak yarn and folks want Vanna White brand, just different colors than what Michael's offers. I personally don't have a problem driving 20 minutes to get to a store that sells "the basics" cheaper than what your small operation might if I have to go to that area for groceries, etc. anyway. There's always going to be price competition between a chain and a mom/pop, so your location will have to be in an area with other shops around that make the trip meaningful, and convenient parking is a plus-plus.

But here's my dream sequence anyway: If I had instruction wishes fulfilled in the crafting arena, it would be all about die cutters, laser cutters, how to safely use power tools (drill, jigsaw, sanders, etc.) how to pick the best, and use, gloss and other finishes for a variety of things, working with different glues (how many did I go through to find the ones that didn't warp my paper??). Nobody has a craft store dedicated to more solid construction, so it's a niche that's worth thinking about. Oh yeah, and you should carry a variety of protective masks in your store - with all the toxic glues and paints and whatnot we crafters use, why don't craft stores carry these things?
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shadojake
« Reply #5 on: April 13, 2014 06:50:14 PM »

Well, it's not so much what we want as what your local market wants. That's where you're going to get your answers if you're going to cater to locals. Maybe there isn't much of a market there for pricey, artisan yak yarn and folks want Vanna White brand, just different colors than what Michael's offers.

Often this is the reason I want to go to a local mom and pop store.  It seems to me that the more successful mom and pops carry extended colors and at least a little better quality than Walmart, Michaels, etc.

When I make my coasters I have to remember that it's not only the designs I like but also what customers want.  If I did only what I liked, I would not make any LSU coasters, for example.  However they do sell well so I continue making them, especially in the fall.

I personally don't have a problem driving 20 minutes to get to a store that sells "the basics" cheaper than what your small operation might if I have to go to that area for groceries, etc. anyway. There's always going to be price competition between a chain and a mom/pop, so your location will have to be in an area with other shops around that make the trip meaningful, and convenient parking is a plus-plus.

I agree. Around here, 20 minutes during the day just gets us from one end of town to the other so it's no big deal to us to drive that far. Usually when I have to go to the other side of town I also combine trips to make it worthwhile.

There is a local scrapbook store about an hour away.  The owner has started offering different special each week to compete directly with the big box stores (BBS).  She may offer 40% off one item one week or 20% off your total another week, etc.  You'll have to be prepared to compete with such sales at the BBS.

Our town has had a series of local scrapbook stores.  One lasted about a year.  They never reduced prices on anything.  Nine months after opening there were products in the store that had not moved but never had been marked down.  It ended up costing the 2 owners their long standing friendship.  Another one lasted about 3 years.  I think this owner finally got overwhelmed because she was also a high school teacher and closed to concentrate on that.  Since then she got out of teaching and went full time in Mary kay.  I had hoped she would reopen after leaving teaching but has not.

I go to the store about an hour away from time to time for classes.  Michaels and HL do not offer any classes here, at least none that I know of.  I like learning techniques that I can use on a variety of scrapbook, card or similar projects.

But here's my dream sequence anyway: If I had instruction wishes fulfilled in the crafting arena, it would be all about die cutters, laser cutters, how to safely use power tools (drill, jigsaw, sanders, etc.) how to pick the best, and use, gloss and other finishes for a variety of things, working with different glues (how many did I go through to find the ones that didn't warp my paper??). Nobody has a craft store dedicated to more solid construction, so it's a niche that's worth thinking about. Oh yeah, and you should carry a variety of protective masks in your store - with all the toxic glues and paints and whatnot we crafters use, why don't craft stores carry these things?

I like going into a store where the owner/manager knows how to use a product, how one brand is different from another, etc.  IOW, can give tips on how to pick the product for your situation.  Most people in BBS are only stockers and cashiers and know nothing about the products they stock.  However, in our HL the "manager" for the scrapbooking area knows about the products because she is a crafter herself and has used many of them.  That is hard to find in the BBS.  Usually when asking a stocker about something they pick up the can, bottle etc. and read the packaging.  I can do that on my own.  If I am looking for a particular thing I usually research it online before going in.  If you could offer product education that would garner some loyalty from avid crafters, hobbyists, etc.
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God Bless,
Cindy

Given enough coffee, I could rule the world!
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